Monday, April 20, 2015
Ode to a Fallen Friend
If you walk out my back door, stroll across the back lawn, through the garden spot, and around the shop, you'll find the resting place of a dear friend of mine: my little pink Ford Escort. This was the car I drove during college. This was the car I drove on many quests for Star Wars merch. I had more fun in this pile of junk than I've ever had in a car. Let me tell you the tale.
I obtained Machi (because the Japanese name for the pink Pac-Man ghost is Machibuse) under slightly sad circumstances. I allowed my sister to take my previous car, a grey Grand Am, on a fast food run. She took a corner too fast, and, BAM, I needed a new car. I test drove several other contenders: a purple Ford Probe that rattled like a frakkin' machine gun and a gold car that looked so much like something a cat puked up that I can't recall the make and model, among others. I came across Machi as my dad and I were browsing at a used car lot. She seemed to be pretty well put together, not held together with chicken wire and duct tape. Dad wasn't crazy about the color, but I dug it. Besides, he didn't have to drive it.
Machi and I embarked on many adventures. We went for long drives at night. We criss-crossed the northwest is search of Star Wars toys. Sometimes we did it alone. Sometimes we brought a friend. We drove all over the empty wilds of Utah. We traversed all kinds of Idaho back roads. We got lost. Most of the time, we didn't care. With the windows down and the radio blasting, the destination just didn't seem important.
I recall one weekend that I jumped into Machi and set out for Craters of the Moon. I vividly remember singing along with Ash (the Free All Angels record) and The Ramones (Rock, rock, rock, rock, Rock n' Roll High School) on a beautiful sunny day. I got to Craters of the Moon and decided I didn't feel like stopping. I decided to drive on until I got tired of doing so. With the tunes blaring, the scenery gliding by, and Machi purring like a kitten, I soon found that I was damn near Boise. I called a buddy and asked if I could crash overnight. After all, I didn't really have anywhere special to be the next day.
Machi definitely took her lumps. She was broken into one day while I was in class. The thieves took her stereo and my guitar, although the joke was on them. The stereo had died about a week prior to the break in. Machi's transmission also had some issues. The linkage slipped meaning the gears weren't where they were supposed to be. We fixed it, but it was never the same. Music played at high volume rattled Machi's frame, and her interior absorbed almost as much greasy. nasty fast food as I have. I was also notoriously bad at changing her oil on time. All in all, I'd say I was a pretty bad owner.
Machi finally gave up the ghost on the Ucon overpass on Highway 20. It sucked because I stopped at the top of the bridge and there wasn't a lot of space between myself and the cars whipping by at 65 MPH. A helpful police officer gave me a push to a safer stopping point and there I waited for help to arrive. The diagnosis was dire: Machi's water pump had gone out, causing her to overheat and blow her head gasket. Fixing her would be more costly than it was worth, seeing as how she also had a damaged door lock and the key was stuck in the ignition. I moved on and Machi was put into storage, first in the shop behind my granpa's house, and then at her current location. She is a shell of her former self, and I feel a pronounced twinge of sadness every time I pass by her. I should've treated her better.
As for the future, my dad has been planning for years to fix Machi up so my nephew can drive her. No progress has been made toward that end, and with my nephew having grown to the roughly the size of a dwarf planet, I'm not sure he could comfortably drive Machi anyway. If I hand my way, I'd take her out somewhere deserted and I'd set her on fire. Machi deserves to go out in a blaze of glory for all the happiness she brought me during our time together. In reality, she'll probably just sit there until someone decides to sell her to a scrap yard. And that day, when it comes, will be a very sad day indeed.